Food safety advice for businesses

When pests get into a food business, they can ruin and contaminate food. If found during an inspection, or from a customer complaint, it can cause your establishment to be closed under the ‘Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice’, losing you money and possibly damaging your business reputation.

As a food business owner, it is your responsibility to have appropriate arrangements in place to effectively prevent pest entry.

The three main groups of pests encountered in the food business are:

Rodents

Insects

Birds

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Businesses must ensure that aspects like design, size and layout of their premises allow for the practices of good food hygiene practices which includes measures to prevent external contamination by pests.

Regulations also state that effective procedures are established to control the issue of pests. Considering a pest control contract is a good idea but remember that the primary responsibility for pest problems lies with you, as the owner of the food business.

Laying baits and poisons should be left to the professionals – commercial feed is not appropriate for use in the food business and can be a source of contamination of the food – but you can and should do a visual inspection for signs of pests.

If you suspect that you may have a pest problem, it is important to identify it at an early stage. This involves regular monitoring of your place for signs of pests like rats, mice, cockroaches and pigeons. When signs of pests are detected, the following steps are recommended:

Close the business until the threat has been effectively cleared of all areas of food storage, preparation and service.

Involve people who are competent – call a pest control contractor. For Essex Pest Control, visit a site like https://www.bpcpestcontrol.co.uk/

Carry out a thorough clean, disinfecting any equipment and surfaces that could have been contaminated by pests, especially the floor. Remove and dispose of stock that might have come into contact with pests. Gloves should be worn and perhaps even a mask, as contamination from pests can transmit disease.

Clean all evidence of droppings, deceased cockroaches and their egg cases from the premises.

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Store all food in closed containers that cannot be accessed by pests.

Block off all the holes in places that may be able to access to rodents with hard, gnaw-resistant materials.

Block all the gaps under doors and install pest screens should you wish to leave a window open.

Fill in all small cracks that might harbour cockroaches.

Discard food that may have been contaminated by mice, rats or cockroaches.